In every city there will be inevitably an area or two where I will want to return time and again, to live and breath the atmosphere of the place. In Paris one of these places in Le Marais, historical Jewish quarters, now similar in atmosphere to London’s Soho.
If you want to know the old Paris, Paris before Housmanian grand buildings and boulevards, Paris of narrow cobbled streets and old lanterns- don’t hesitate.
And how better to explore the area then by sampling the food? From the best Israeli specialities in town, take-away falafel where the queue reminds me of Poland behind the Iron Curtain (that is- the whole town queues up to buy a loo roll) to famous Chez Marianne- we’ve tried them all. Sitting outside in an Israeli restaurant on Rue des Rosiers or at Marianne’s (so much food to try) and watching Paris go by was one of our favorite past times.
There were tourists on the streets, too of course but Marais is a home to hip art galleries and cool boutiques so my green monster was on the loose every time I saw inevitably slender, tousled hair girl who looked a bit rock’nroll, a bit disheveled and very very Parisian. I wanted to run into nearest Iro boutique and grab everything in my size. I know, we have Iro in London, and Maje and Sandro, too but seeing these clothes on Parisian girls, nonchalantly and effortlessly put together made me want to have them to the point of obsession. Add to it Zadig & Voltaire or Mexicana super cool boots and you will be oozing cool, which is what I’m planning on doing very very soon 🙂
How do these slender girls resist the mouth watering home baked cakes in Marais? I will skip Pierre Hardy’s macaroons because I’m sure you know of them already. How about home made cheesecake (think Nigella Lawson) or delicate strudel with caramelized apples and raisins? Or perhaps I can tempt you with coconut pralines filled with coconut cream and meringue? These and much much more are sold every day (except shabbat) at Korcarz, a kosher bakery and a cafe. Run by lovely Mrs Irena and her crew, it’s full of family photographs and has a super warm, relaxing atmosphere. Add to it strong and delicious coffee and no wonder we kept returning, time and again, sampling new cakes at every visit.
But Marais is not just known for culinary delights and great shopping. If you are bit of a culture vulture you will love Picasso museum which houses 500 pieces of Picasson collection. Or maybe you will be interested in Jewish Museum with Dreyfus monument in the courtyard? Or Hôtel de Sully, early 17th century mansion house build for a notorious gambler who lost all his fortune in one night? Whatever you do, don’t forget to visit Places des Vosges, one of the most beautiful places in Paris (Victor Hugo used to live there) where you can find peace and quiet lying on the grass and listening to the fountain.
I saw a handwritten note on one of the delicatessen in Le Marais. It said “Gone on holiday. I’ll be back on 31 of August at 1.45”.
And that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to put a note on my door saying “Gone to Paris. I’ll back on 1 of September at 9am”. Until then you will find me in Le Marais.
Today’s photos were shot on Trocadero with Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. We had to get up at 5am to avoid the crowds but soon enough other photographers turned up with brides and grooms in tow. Photos are by my dad who was merciless when it came to dragging me out of bed in the morning!
Suede shirt by Jadzia Doroba
Skirt by Altuzarra for Target